How Your Government Really Works

Some of the harshest critics of government corruption are thoroughly corrupt – and everyone in the upper reaches of government is complicit due to their silence. 

I spent over 40 years in government service.  I don't consider myself an expert on the subject but after 40 years you cannot avoid acquiring a more than basic knowledge of a subject.  One of the lessons I learned is that knowledge is power.  There are people in government who keep their ears to the ground in order to gain as much knowledge as possible.  I was not one of them, but I could not avoid learning who was sleeping with whom and other supposedly private matters.  An example of this lesson: a coworker of mine walked into a chief's office while he was on the couch with a woman who was not his wife.  I should not have to clarify that they were in a horizontal position.  This coworker was shortly promoted to supervisor and transferred to what I suspect was an ideal location.  Ambitious people pay attention. 

The higher reaches of powerful organizations are composed of ambitious people who are not necessarily competent in the areas they are responsible for, but they are aware of the situations that will advance their careers.  The current situation with the Lincoln Project illustrates this point.  The Lincoln Project claims to be "holding accountable those who would violate their oaths to the Constitution and would put others before Americans."  That's a pretty noble endeavor.  One of the founders of this group, John Weaver, resigned after charges of sexual harassment which included a 14-year-old boy.  

Imagine a situation where a thoroughly reprehensible individual is an essential member of a team.  The team is working to prevent a disaster that will possibly result in death of millions. Without this individual the team will fail.  However, this individual is a monster, a pedophile, and a possible murderer.  What do you do?  Some people will ignore his behavior.  Others will denounce him and accept the damage this will cause.  It should also be noted that the prospects of whistleblowers are not very good.  By exposing this individual, you are alienating a large number of powerful people who may share his vices.  The Lincoln Project issued a severe condemnation of Weaver, denouncing his "deplorable and predatory behavior."  But this was only after a New York Times report detailed his history.  Perhaps his coworkers were unaware of his activities.  I find that unlikely though.  So, their self-righteous condemnations of President Trump ring hollow.

It is almost impossible for prominent people to conceal their behavior.  The late Senator John McCain's wife Cindy claimed, “Epstein was hiding in plain sight. We all knew about him. We all knew what he was doing, but we had no one that was -- no legal aspect that would go after him. They were afraid of him. For whatever reason, they were afraid of him.”  The important part of this statement is: "We all knew about him."  Jeffrey Epstein was prostituting young girls and Cindy McCain knew about it. She did not report it.  What was she afraid of?  Vladimir Bukovsky pointed out one of the problems with exposing people: "The movers and shakers of today have little interest in digging for the truth. Who knows what one may come up with? You may start out with the communists and end up with yourself."

It is not surprising that men behave badly.  Every profession has members exposed as predators. Entertainment has Harvey Weinstein.  The news media has Matt Lauer.  The government has the Congressional Office of Compliance (COC) which supposedly disbursed the ridiculously low sum of $17 million over a twenty-year period to cover sex-related incidents.  Senator Ted Kennedy’s activities included public sex in 1985 and 1987 at La Brasserie restaurant.  Kennedy reportedly had a high-ranking aide who served as "a pimp… whose real position was to procure women for Kennedy."  The late NPR reporter Cokie Roberts claimed, "(Rep. John) Conyers’ predatory behavior was an open secret among the press corps."  She stated, “Don’t get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole every female in the press corps knew that."  She also stated, "You know they are so used to it.  I mean, the culture of Capitol Hill for so many decades was men being bad.”  

Predatory behavior should be exposed, and the perpetrators should be punished.  However, this has to be done with discretion.  Some charges are fabricated or exaggerated.  There are often attempts to discredit the victims.  Paula Jones was described by Newsweek’s Evan Thomas as "some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks."  Leslie Stahl reported on CBS that John Tower danced naked on a grand piano with his mistress, a Russian ballerina.  Reporters had to go back 30 years in order to find questionable evidence that Judge Roy Moore was a pedophile.  You might have noticed that the individuals with bogus or questionable charges are conservatives.  That may be the case, but all members of the elite are complicit.  When Utah Senator Orrin Hatch -- a conservative Republican -- was asked if he thought Sen. Kennedy had a drinking problem, he responded, "I wouldn't comment on that."  Hatch knew all about Kennedy's behavior but would not even comment on his drinking.

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing).  He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary’s University.  He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.  He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember:" Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.

Image: Lincoln Project